Having a professional award named in one’s honor is an extraordinary tribute that recently was paid to longtime dental professor Carlos F. Salinas, DMD, by the S.C. Oral Health Children with Special Health Care Needs Workgroup.
Drs. Charles Brooks, from left, Mary Tepprt, Carlos Salinas and John Sanders celebrate the award Sept. 26.

The Dr. Carlos Salinas Award for Excellence in Treating Individuals with Special Needs also was endorsed and supported by the South Carolina Dental Association and the Specialized Care Company in recognition for Salinas’ tireless commitment to assisting persons with special needs.
Salinas is professor and director of MUSC’s Division of Craniofacial Genetics, Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics and director MUSC Craniofacial Anomalies and Cleft Lip and Palate Team. He has been with the College of Dental Medicine for more than 34 years.
The first recipient of the Salinas award is Kenneth J. Lowry, DMD, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, from Florence. The award was announced during the Sept. 26 annual continuing education course of the Dental Program for the Diagnosis and Treatment of the Special Needs Patient at the North Charleston Convention Center. The engraved crystal award was presented to Lowry at the event. Meanwhile, an award plaque bearing Lowry’s name was presented to Salinas and will be permanently displayed at the College of Dental Medicine.
“This is indeed an honor for me,” said Salinas. “The idea took me by surprise and I am humbled to be regarded and recognized by my South Carolina dental colleagues.”
Salinas has been instrumental in teaching students, residents and dental care practitioners about craniofacial genetics and caring for patients with special health care needs. Since 1998, he has sponsored the annual continuing education course. To date, he has been instrumental in training and preparing more than 2,000 dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and MUSC dental students in this program.
  Since 2001, Salinas has led a volunteer team of dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and MUSC dental students in working with the Special Olympics Special Smiles Oral Health program. Dental teams have screened more than 1,000 athletes for the South Carolina Special Olympics.
Salinas also has helped develop the South Carolina Dental Directory for Individuals with Special Health Care Needs that lists more than 400 practitioners in the state who are trained to care for patients with special health care needs. The directory was recognized as a best practice approach for State and Community Oral Health Programs by the Association for State and Territorial Dental Directors in 2007. Currently, the program is nationally recognized as a model program in two other states.
Salinas collaborates with the MUSC-CDM Dentistry Resident Clinic Referral Center that provides diagnoses and treatment to children with special health care needs to the MUSC medical center and areas around the state.
“The S.C. Oral Health workgroup wanted to honor an individual in the state who has made the most significant contribution to special needs people throughout the state and that was person was Dr. Salinas,” Christine Veschusio, director of the Division of Oral Health, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control stated in an e-mail.
“Dr. Salinas has been a leader and champion in the recognition and treatment of craniofacial anomalies for patients with special needs in South Carolina,” said Tariq Javed, DMD, professor and associate dean for academic and student affairs in the College of Dental Medicine. “He has been associated with craniofacial genetics and has highlighted the dental professional’s role in recognizing, diagnosis and treatment of special needs patients as it relates to craniofacial genetics. MUSC and the College of Dental Medicine are fortunate to have a man of Dr. Salinas’ credentials and national-international reputation to instruct dental students and residents in this important area of dental specialty. Dean Sanders and I are very pleased that Dr. Salinas is an active teacher and faculty member at MUSC.”
Salinas received his dental degree in 1963 from the University of Chile. He received a DMD from MUSC in 1985 and a certificate in medical genetics from John Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1974.